CIGO-FM , The Hawk, Port Hawkesbury
|CIGO-FM||2000||101.5||19,000||MacEachern Broadcasting Ltd.|
|CIGO-AM||1975||1410||10,000||Eastern Broadcasting Ltd.|
On April 4, Gerald J. Doucet on behalf of a company to be incorporated was awarded a licence for a new AM station at Port Hawkesbury. The station would broadcast on a frequency of 1410 kHz with power of 10,000 watts day and night (directional antenna at night). Included in the proposed 49 ½ hours of local programming each week would be some programs for the French and Aboriginal communities. Eastern Broadcasters Ltd. signed CIGO 1410 on the air October 29. Eastern was controlled by Gerry Doucet and Bill Kelly. The station’s first manager was Sandy Hoyt, who was known to radio listeners in Halifax (CJCH) and Toronto (CFTR and later, CHFI). Brian Matthews was CIGO’s first chief engineer. He was also last at CFTR in Toronto.
On January 7, James A. Marchand was given permission to sell his 22% interest in Eastern Broadcasters Ltd. to Gerry Doucet whoul would now have 59% of the shares.
The CRTC gave CIGO permission to start selling advertising in Antigonish. The area had been previously restricted to protect CJFX.
Jay Bedford became retail sales manager.
CIGO’s application to change its daytime radiation pattern to improve coverage in the Antigonish area was denied. The CRTC said the proposal would adversely affect CJFX in that market, while reducing coverage in the eastern portion of CIGO’s service area.
CIGO went into receivership in October. It had been in debt since going on the air in 1975. CIGO’s major shareholder was Gerald Doucet, a former Nova Scotia cabinet minister.
The Eastern Group of Companies Ltd. was given approval to purchase CIGO. The station’s manager Bruce Lee, said that broadcasting was a new venture for Eastern, and that the purchase reflected optimism for an economic turnaround in the Strait of Canso area.
Former CIGO general manager Bruce Lee was now selling cars across the road from the station. Program director Bob MacEachern took over the GM role. CIGO went through six weeks of complete renovations. Julie Demers was sports director. Ron MacKinnon became music director. Andy Newman joined from CJLS Yarmouth to become morning man. Paul Knott joined CIGO from CJCB Sydney to be evening announcer.
Ken Kingston was news director.
MacEachern Broadcasting Ltd. purchased CIGO from Eastern Group of Companies. MacEachern Broadcasting was owned by Bob MacEachern who had been employed by CIGO for 18 years, the last six as manager. John Van Zutphen, president of the Eastern Group of Companies said he wanted to keep the station in local hands.
Newsman Mike Stackhouse returned to CIGO and Darren Burton joined the station as engineer. CIGO was off the air for nearly six days in September when a modulation transformer blew, taking out other elements in the transmitter. Owner Bob MacEachern said he was thankful for the support he received both from fellow broadcasters and the listeners.
On November 17, CIGO was given approval to convert to the FM dial, operating on 101.5 MHz with an effective radiated power of 19,000 watts. The present adult contemporary format would be retained.
CIGO tested its new FM frequency in March and made the official switch to 101.5 MHz as “The Hawk” on April 3. With the move to FM, CIGO also launched a web site that featured live audio streaming. Paul Knott was program director. CIGO 1410 was shut down on May 1.
On June 28 the CRTC renewed CIGO-FM’s licence until August 31, 2011.
In August, 101.5 The Hawk’s President Bob MacEachern announced the appointment of a new news director. Monastery, Nova Scotia native Greg Morrow has returned to The Hawk to assume the role. Morrow started his radio career with The Hawk while attending Antigonish East High School in 1998. Morrow will be handling the early morning news along with co-hosting the morning show with Scottie O. Morrow is joined in the news department by Paul Bradley, a graduate of Loyalist College in Belleville, ON. Bradley, a native of Hartland, New Brunswick is settling into his new position as afternoon news anchor.
The new afternoon drive host at 1015 The Hawk was Cameron MacEachern. It was his first paying job in broadcasting and, in fact, he was still in the process of earning a diploma from the Radio-Television Arts Program at Nova Scotia Community College. MacEachern had been hanging around The Hawk since he was 11 years old, getting his feet wet doing all manner of peripheral work. His dad, Bob MacEachern, owned the station. Kerri Penney joined The Hawk newsroom as the new afternoon news anchor and reporter. Kelly Atchison was program director. The Hawk was getting ready to celebrate its 10th birthday on the FM dial. The station debuted on the AM band in October 1975 was the first Nova Scotia radio station to flip from AM to FM – in April 2000. Peter Cotter died at age 61. He had a news career in Maritimes radio (CIGO Port Hawkesbury, CFCY Charlottetown, CJCB and CHER Sydney) that spanned the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. He’d spent the last 15 years with the Cape Breton Post. On September 17, the CRTC approved an application by MacEachern Broadcasting Limited to change the authorized contours of CIGO-FM by increasing the station’s effective radiated power from 19,000 watts to 40,000 watts (non-directional antenna with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 171.1 metres).
The Commission noted that, following receipt of the application, the licensee sent a request to the Department of Industry to increase the ERP from 19,000 watts to 38,100 watts so as to maintain the station within the technical parameters of a Class B radio station. All other technical parameters would remain unchanged. The licensee stated that the proposed change would result in a better quality signal to listeners located in the Port Hawkesbury portion of the station’s service area who were experiencing poor reception of CIGO-FM. The Commission noted that the proposed change would increase the size of the station’s authorized contours, such that the population served within the station’s 3 mV/m contour would increase from 13,424 to 16,296, and, within its 0.5 mV/m contour, from 46,718 to 48,801. (approval was for 38,100 watts) On September 27, 101.5 The Hawk cranked up its power when it switched on a new 10,000 watt Nautel NV 10 Digital Transmitter. The new system replaced a ten-year old Nautel transmitter and doubled the power output to 38 000 watts. President Bob MacEachern said the upgrade improved the quality of radio reception to listeners in the Quad Counties. “The digital transmitter generates less background noise and hiss, and the increase in power has helped with FM reception in the valleys and the outer reaches of the coverage area.” MacEachern adds, “It has made a big difference, the sound is much cleaner and has a wider range.” The transmitter upgrade was part of an overhaul of The Hawk’s equipment which would include digital processing and digital consoles in the studios.
On August 31, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CIGO-FM until March 31, 2012.
On March 20, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for CIGO-FM to August 31, 2012. The licence was administratively renewed August 28, to December 31, 2012. On December 21, the licence was renewed to August 31, 2017.
CIGO founder Gerry Doucet (80) died on November 23. CIGO went on the air in 1975 and Doucet was owner until 1985. Doucet was the first Acadian cabinet minister in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly as the MLA for Richmond County from 1963 to 1974.
On March 11, the CRTC approved the sale of CIGO-FM by MacEachern Broadcasting to Acadia Broadcasting.
The story continues elsewhere…
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